Written by Rosh Radia
I had my first one night stand last month and frankly this was a huge cause for celebration so please don’t stop clapping or cheering any time soon. You see, I live at home and as a British Asian young women being sexually active with parents in very close proximity has been the biggest cockblocker of my life. Moving back home after University was an act of necessity - I hadn’t enjoyed university and missed the people and city I knew so much - and cultural expectation - I am only supposed to move out when I get married. Millennials have a bad reputation but being one has given me the greatest gift of all time, the ability to choose my marital status and say no to marriage. But does this mean I have to stay home forever? It turns out that yes, yes it does. For my parents the rational behind staying at home is easy. Why would anyone want to leave their family, the comfort of a lovely sized home and a garden, for a cramped flat in the city, or even worse a teeny tiny room in someone else’s house? Every time my Dad says this to me I want to scream. How do I explain to him that I would give up the rose bushes and driveway in a heartbeat to have my own space and privacy? I don’t care how small that privacy is because it would be all mine. And while there are many reasons why I am moving out (yes, I am! Please do continue your applause), a large part of that is down to the fact that I like having sex and I want to have more sex with a lot more people. Bringing a person home for a good fuck has always been out of the question and always will be and that leaves only two other options: staying over at theirs or making my way home at a ridiculously late hour. With the former I have to lie and lie well if I need to make it work. My parents do not want to know anything about my sex life and until very recently I am sure that if they ever did think of it, they assumed the only thing ever to enter my vagina would be my brown husband’s penis. I do not like lying and more than this pretending I am staying over at a friends house cheapens and demeans the fact that I am having sex with someone I like. The fact that I want this other person as much as they want me, that I want their desire deserves more than a breezy text saying I’m staying over at a female friend’s place. With the latter, the idea of coming back home in the early hours always had an aura of shame associated with it and once again, when I have sex there isn’t any shame involved and I refuse for there to be. Actually there is a third option I suppose, that of booking a hotel room. I can actually hear my mum sarcastically asking me why I am not giving her my money as I am so obviously made of it. Eventually I stopped going out with the hope of having sex and stopped lying. Even masturbating or using toys became less and less of a pleasure because as my mum once said to me, ‘what is knocking?’ She meant it as a joke and I wanted to cry. Or scream. Or scream and cry at how ridiculous all of this was. Surely I wasn’t the only one failing at living this double life? Why would I rather have anything, anything happen to me instead of being honest with my parents? Why does my cultural and tradition place so much importance on my virginity? Oh yes I know the answer to this: the liberation of women terrifies almost everyone. Brown culture - well, honestly, almost any culture - denies female sexuality and pretends that it doesn’t exist. Mine is no different and just as harmful. My male cousins and friends of the same culture have their girlfriends staying over fairly regularly, not as regularly as our white counterparts but more regularly than us brown vagina carriers. I have one Asian friend who had very liberal parents and enjoyed open and frank discussions with her mum about her sex life long before I did. Past me is jealous of past her. Present me isn’t jealous of her present life at all, so at least that’s something I suppose. There was an article in The Guardian very recently talking about the sex lives of young Asian schoolgirls now, and one teenager made such an excellent point it always stuck with me: growing up in such a patriarchal culture where his opinion is what matters and where what he says goes, when he wants to fuck you you say yes ok even if you don’t want to. That is what my culture taught me to do and I wonder how I would have reacted at 14 if there had ever been a boy who wanted to fuck me and I hadn’t really wanted to fuck him. I know this isn’t just an issue Asian girls face. What a world we live in when I am grateful that my sexcapades have been full of enthusiastic content and laughter. This should be normal. Times have changed so much since I was a teenager but Asian women’s sexuality still seems to be in the hands of men and boys. The one night stand I had was full of laughter and sloppy, loud kisses, and a condom without me having to ask, and both of us making sure multiple times that this was what we both wanted. Oh yes, I am very, very OK. In fact, can we go again? Yes, right now. I hummed with pleasure almost all the way throughout. I told my mum about him a little while later because whenever I think of that encounter I just laugh; we really did have a good time. She asked me if I liked this boy and my response was no because I don’t in the way she means. She is seeing marriage and babies. I am seeing more no strings attached sex and hopefully a friend for a long, long time. I think I told her this story because I am an adult and so is she and I wanted her to realise this. Maybe even accept it. Her response was that I shouldn’t be the notch on anyone’s bed post. Oh mum, I replied, he is a notch on mine. She laughed and said with a little wonder: times really have changed. And they have, at least for me finally. I should have told her this when I was 21 and just moved back home but I suppose better later than never. Back then I wasn’t brave and I have had to be so brave recently with my life, that talking about my sexual desire and appetite with my parents no longer fills me with dread. So what if they know I have sex? All they should ever worry about is how enthusiastic my consent is.